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June 5, 2015 4:17 pm

Israel is Secretly Protecting Druze Community in Syria, Hints Leading Lawmaker

avatar by David Daoud

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Ayoob Kara. Photo: Jusmine.

Ayoob Kara. Photo: Jusmine.

Israel has been engaged in secret efforts to protect the Druze community in war-torn Syria, Israeli Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara said on Friday.

“The State of Israel is acting on behalf of the Syrian Druze. These matters are being carried out quietly, and without publicity,” said Kara, according to Israeli NRG news.

Kara, a lawmaker for the ruling Likud party who is also responsible for the government’s relations with the local Druze community, was addressing recent Arabic reports that Israel rejected calls by the leaders of Israel’s Druze community to provide military assistance to their coreligionists in southern Syria.

The residents of Jabal Al-Druze, in southern Syria, are in the most imminent danger because of advances made by Islamic State militants towards their region. They have accused the Syrian regime of deserting and moving troops and weapons out the area.

“We do not plan to sit idly by while our brothers are being slaughtered in Syria,” Kara told NRG. “We are doing everything, and we will do what we need to do in order to save them,” he said.

Kara added that he was on his way to the Golan Heights to speak to the leaders of the Israeli Druze community, but refused to say more about the request for military assistance to Syria’s Druze. “It is forbidden for us to talk about these matters, we are doing everything to help.”

The report about the Syrian Druze request for Israeli assistance was published by Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, and quoted sources from the community saying that Israeli Druze leaders had reached out to the Israeli government on behalf of their Syrian brethren.

They reportedly appealed directly to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who they say assured them that he would work to ensure the protection of the Druze everywhere. The sources added that the leadership of the Druze community in Lebanon is also in touch with their Israeli counterparts to ensure the safety of the Druze in Syria under threat from the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front terror groups.

Kara said on his Facebook page that he was negotiating with various parties in the Israeli government on behalf of the Druze.

Kara added, “I don’t want to get into details, but our progress cannot be measured in monetary gains alone.” According to Kara, “one day it will be possible to talk about this. To those who have raised their eyebrows, it is possible to tell them now: I am proud and happy that God created me in the state of Israel and I am also proud that we have no other country.”

The Druze are an ethnoreligious minority in the Middle East, with the largest communities in Syria and Lebanon.

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